It’s the end of the world as we know it and the characters of Peter Milligan’s newest min-series Tomorrow are feeling far from fine. In this debut issue from Berger Books at Dark Horse Comics, Milligan and an art team of Jesús Hervás and James Devlin infuse energy and fresh perspectives into a common dystopian setting.
Milligan sets a familiar landscape. There’s a virus that’s rapidly plaguing the globe and seemingly only targeting adults. The twist Milligan is banking on sticking with readers is that this is a techno-organic virus that began merely as a normal computer virus from a Russian defense cyberhacker, but transforms into something that is affecting humans.
Tomorrow could’ve fallen into standard post-apocalyptic sci-fi tropes in the hands of a lesser writer, but Milligan’s character work is the hook that will keep readers tuned into this series. He focuses on Carlos, a prodigious musical talent who also happens to be neuro-atypical. This is a level of representation that’s seldom seen in all of popular culture, let alone in the comics medium. When there’s a discussion of diversity in media, it usually pertains to race, gender or sexuality. To see a light cast upon a section of society that’s an afterthought is commendable on Milligan’s part. The fact that Carlos is character is fully formed person and not simply a cardboard facsimile of what it’s like to be neuro-atypical should only heighten interest in Tomorrow.
Carlos is a character already rich in development. His love and devotion to music are clearly on display. He adores his twin sister Cira and never wants to be apart from her, hinting at some potential telepathic connection between the two. He’s self-aware about his neuro-atypical behavior, knowing that his actions and thoughts don’t make him any less of a person, as he’s quick to state, “I’m neuro-atypical, not a monster.” Milligan has empowered Carlos with agency in just one single panel.
In a preface letter at the beginning of the issue, Milligan sets a thematic template for this min-series. Milligan tackles some existential topics, wondering if a world without adults would be pure, as society would potentially be free from the greed and wickedness that oozes from the world’s most powerful (and oldest) people. As Tomorrow progresses, that transition to an adult-free existent certainly won’t be a smooth process and Milligan leaves some bread crumbs for the audience to keep in the back of their heads. This is something that would typically come at the end of a debut issue, but I appreciate Milligan whetting readers’ appetites and switching gears here.
It would be a mistake to not commend the illustrations of Hervás in Tomorrow #1, as his unique panel layouts give both literal and figurative layering to Milligan’s writing. In an issue that has a surprising amount of action for a series debut, Hervás ensures that future installments of Tomorrow that truly get to the heart of this virus will be up to par.
Despite tackling concepts that have been done frequently throughout fiction, Milligan’s ability to quickly illustrate the humanity of Tomorrow‘s protagonist makes for an intriguing read that should have audiences ready to snag the second issue of this min-series from their comic book shop.